It isn’t easy being the son of Jackie Shroff. He is and has always been, overpowering in his personality without trying to be. For a very long time, Tiger Shroff was extremely awkward in his father’s towering presence.
“I didn’t like being compared with my father. There was nothing to compare! I was, and still am, shy gawky and very unconfident around women. My father could charm anyone with just one look. What was I? Not even a chip off the block,” recalls Tiger.
Initially, it was a struggle for Tiger to dodge comparisons with his dad.
“I would’ve never done a remake of my father’s film Hero. Not at the start of my career. Not now! The comparisons would have killed my career! My father oozed sexy confidence in Hero. In my debut film Hero-panti, I could barely hold my own on camera. I got clobbered by critics in my first film. My dad was loved from the start,” says the affectionate yet reverent son who admits he didn’t get much time with his dad during childhood.
“When my sister and I were growing up, Dad was out shooting constantly. Mom chose to give up her career and look after us. But Dad would still make sure he was around for all mine and my sister’s important occasions, birthdays included.”
So which of his Dad’s films are Tiger’s favorites?
“Oh that’s easy. Shiva Ka Insaaf is my all-time favorite film of my Dad! As a child, I’ve watched it over and over again. Every son’s first hero is his father. My dad was my first super-hero. For me, he was Superman and Batman combined.”
Tiger’s greatest joy was when in The Flying Jatt he got to play a super-hero like his Dad had played in Shiva Ka Insaaf. “I was thrilled when I got to play out a childhood fantasy in The Flying Jatt. There was no risk of comparisons with my Dad since his Shiva Ka Insaaf was a different super-hero story.”
Shiva Ka Insaaf was the first 3D film in Hindi, and Tiger recalls the allure of watching his dad fly across the sky. “I loved to see my Dad play the desi super-hero. My father didn’t have to try to be a super-hero. It came naturally to him. He was tall, well-built and his body-language rendered itself effortlessly to the super-hero mould. I had to work hard to get into the super-hero mould. I hope I am never compared with my father or with him.”
In fact, Tiger has been consciously working towards a career that cannot be compared with his Dad’s.
The dancing-star’s image is a clean break from Jackie’s two-left-feet reputation.
Jackie Shroff could never play the dancer that Tiger is playing in the forthcoming Munna Michael.
Ever the dutiful son, Tiger quips, “Let’s put it this way. He may have pulled off Munna Michael. But I could never do his Hero. Not in this life. Not in any life.”
Tiger’s thoughts on his Dad on Father’s day? “I think about him every day. I don’t need one special day to do so.”